I like to eat and sometimes I forget that the foods I eat can impact my running (Damn you Nothing Bundt Cakes).
Today I am going to dig in and share what foods should runners avoid. Don't worry, it's not as bad as you think.
Food is necessary for optimal performance when training for a race. Every runner needs high-quality fuel in order to perform their best.
The right foods can promote muscle growth and aid in muscle repair while the wrong ones can set you back or even cause injury.
What Foods Runners Should Avoid - the Top 12
Eating habits can be drastically improved by avoiding these types of food and sticking to healthy alternatives.
To dial in your performance, ditch these 12 bad foods for runners:
1. Diet soda is sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, cyclamate, and acesulfame-k rather than sugar. It's been linked to kidney issues, dehydration, sugar cravings, and weight gain.
2. Cookies and sweets - We've all been there: you're in the middle of a race and all you can think about is "EATING ALL THE CANDY." Cookies and candy will never be healthy, but understanding how to enjoy them in moderation is key. Choose a healthier snack full of nutrient-dense carbohydrates and protein the next time you
3. Fatty Foods - Even though you may not need to avoid all full-fat dairy products, you should be selective about which ones you consume. Choose yogurt over ice cream instead of berries in your yogurt.
4. Foods that contain hydrogenated oils and trans fats raise LDL cholesterol and might increase the risk of heart disease. Runners should instead consume nutritious lipids that boost HDL cholesterol, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fish.
5. Alcohol - I know what you are thinking.... I love Wine too. You don't need to completely eliminate alcohol, but you don't want to overdo it. Doing so can lead to slower reaction time, dehydration, and decreased performance. Beer is a better alternative to hard alcohol because of its water content. But remember to load up on carbs, and not beer, pre-race day!
6. Fried foods - Fried foods are not ideal prior to a workout since they are calorie-dense and take longer to digest, resulting in stomach upset. Fried foods are also just that, foods that are fried in oil. Which is also not a good, healthy option for runners.
7. Coffee, tea, and energy drinks - According to some studies, moderate caffeine intake might help you perform better. However, keep in mind that caffeine is dehydrating and stomach-irritating. Energy drinks are my #1 no-go for runners. Coffee tends to help move things along in your insides (gets you pooping).
8. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - HFCS can be found in a variety of commercial products. The next time you're feeling a sugar craving, grab a piece of fruit!
9. Sugar is a huge cause of weight gain. Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, such as those found in sugary cereal and fruit snacks can quickly spike insulin levels and stimulate fat storage. To decrease digestion, seek for cereals with 10 grams of sugar or less per serving as well as three or more grams of fiber. Look at the daily allowance of sugar in a sports drink, it is insanely high!
10. White flours - White bread, rice, and pasta are all acceptable in moderation, but they aren't as great as whole grain options. These refined meals have been stripped of their wheat germ, which means they don't provide the same nutrients or fiber. Consuming these products might increase insulin levels, causing decreases in energy and sugar cravings while also
11. White chocolate is made from cocoa beans that have been leeched of their cocoa butter. Cocoa, like all nuts and seeds, is high in antioxidants and minerals. Dark chocolate has greater antioxidant activity than white chocolate. White chocolate is high in calories, sugar, and fat but lacks the same health benefits as dark chocolate. Milk chocolate isn't much. Energy bars also contain a ton of chocolate and saturated fats. Here are the bars that I recommend.
12. Processed Red Meat - According to research, chronic consumption of processed red meat might cause colon cancer. Sausages, ham, bacon, jerky, cured or smoked meat, and hot dogs are all examples of processed red meats. It's unclear what component of processed red meat raises the risk of cancer; however, it may be the nitrates. Though viewed as a good source of protein, eat these in moderation.
To have a healthy diet while training for your next race, you should limit foods that interfere with the body’s nutritional needs and reduce overall performance.
It’s okay to indulge in an occasional treat, but make sure the majority of your food choices have the key vitamins and minerals your body needs for training. In other words, eat real food.
How Meal Choices Impact Your Running:
What you eat impacts your running performance in a few ways. The most obvious way food choice can hurt your running is by making you heavier.
-Key takeaway: your eating habits impact your running. So if you are looking to lose weight from running, eating healthy foods that contain carbs and healthy nutrients are the way to!
Carbs are essential for runners – they provide energy during a race or run. But if you’re eating unhealthy carbs, like those found in processed foods, you’re not going to be able to run as efficiently or for as long as you would if you ate healthier carbs and protein.
Another way food choice impacts running is by how it makes you feel. Eating processed foods can lead to feelings of sluggishness and tiredness, while eating real foods will make you feel more energetic.
Lastly, certain types of food can actually cause you to run slower. Foods that are high in sugar, for example, will cause your blood sugar levels to spike, resulting in a “sugar crash” later on. This means you won’t have the energy you need to perform at your best.
Running to Lose Weight & Food Choices:
If your goal is to lose weight, you need to focus on eating a healthy meal and avoiding processed foods. When you’re running to lose weight, you want to make sure you’re getting the right balance of protein, carbs, and fat.
You should also aim to eat frequently throughout the day, so you’re not starving by the time you run.
If you’re eating unhealthy meals, like processed foods, you’re not going to be able to lose weight – in fact, you might even gain weight. Processed foods are loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt, all of which can lead to weight gain.
Real foods, on the other hand, are packed with nutrients and fiber, which can help you lose weight. So if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, make sure you’re eating mostly real foods, and avoiding processed foods.
Nutrition values are printed on the back of most foods except fruits and veggies. Pay close attention to how much sugar and calories you are putting in your body.
When it comes to food choices for runners, there are some things that should be avoided. Processed foods, red meat, white chocolate, and milk chocolate are some of the foods that runners should stay away from. Processed foods are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt, all of which can lead to weight gain.
Red meat has been linked to an increased risk for colon cancer. White chocolate is high in calories, sugar, and fat. Sure this sounds like I am telling you not to eat the good stuff, just eat it moderation.
Dark chocolate is a much better option than chocolate, processed or not. It has antioxidants that improve heart health, plus it has a low glycemic index so it doesn’t cause blood sugar levels to spike. And as for milk chocolate, well, it really isn’t all that good for you. It contains unhealthy amounts of sugar and fat, plus it’s low in antioxidants.
Benefits of high fiber foods :
One of the best things about eating real foods is that they’re high in fiber. Fiber is important for runners because it helps keep us regular, and it also provides us with energy.
Fiber-rich meals are low in calories and high in nutrients, so they make a great choice for runners who are trying to lose weight. Plus, they’re filling, so they can help keep you from overeating.
Some good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. So if you want to stay healthy and perform your best, make sure you’re eating plenty of high-fiber foods.
So as you can see, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to food choices for runners. By avoiding processed foods and eating real foods instead, you’ll be able to perform better and stay healthy.
What are the Symptoms of Eating Bad Foods for Runners?
If you're a runner and you're eating bad foods, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
Poor energy levels
Weight gain (Additional Fat)
Lower immune system function
To have a healthy diet while training for your next race, you should limit meals that interfere with the body’s nutritional needs and reduce overall performance. It’s okay to indulge in an occasional treat, but make sure the majority of your food choices have the key vitamins and minerals your body needs for training. In other words, eat real food.
To have a healthy diet while training for your next race, you should limit foods that interfere with the body’s nutritional needs and reduce overall performance. It’s okay to indulge in an occasional treat, but make sure the majority of your food choices have the key vitamins and minerals your body needs for training. In other words, eat real food.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.